Boat News Races & Regatta


Tomorrow 27 Jun at 1:00 PDT a group of 16 boats will cross the starting line in the vicinity of Point Fermin in San Pedro in the first start of the 2023 Transpac.

After leaving the West End of Catalina to port they will sail another 2200 miles west towards the finish line at Diamond Head on Oahu…an epic journey.

They are the first of three waves of starting groups among 58 entries from Australia, Canada, Italy and the US in the 52nd edition of this biennial ocean racing classic, first sailed in 1906. Some are racing Transpac for the first time, others are veterans who keep coming back to enjoy this iconic race.

One team who is racing their first Transpac travelled a long way to do it. Ian Edwards’ Dehler 46 WINGS has come all the way from Sydney, Australia to participate, and the team is excited for tomorrow’s start in Boatswain’s Locker Division 7. They are no strangers to ocean racing – Edwards reckons in total they have raced some 35,000 miles on this boat – but the unique aspect of Transpac’s course and conditions intrigues them compared to other races.

“We normally race with 10 or even 12 crew,” he said, “but we will race with only 8 on this race. We have a lot of experience in all positions on the boat and we’ve been doing some practicing with our short-handed maneuvers like sail changes and gybes so the off-watch can get some sleep and be rested for their turn.”

Indeed, this is a fundamental skill for all Transpac teams: finding the balance between having enough versatile and skilled crew available to perform versus the extra weight and clutter of having more on board.

There are other notable differences for Edwards, such as Transpac’s limited allowance for stacking sails on deck to increase stability and optimize performance – this is not allowed in other races. They also added a Code 65 reaching headsail to their inventory to help fill the gap between their upwind headsails and their spinnakers.

2023 Transpac - photo © Transpacific Yacht Club
2023 Transpac – photo © Transpacific Yacht Club

As for weather and routing, Edwards said they have poured through all the available resources from experts like Stan Honey and Peter Isler on route planning, and they feel confident that their first group will get off the coast and into the Pacific quickly without speed bumps.

“We don’t see a need to do a deep south route for us so initially we should be staying fairly close to the rhumb line. After that we’ll see how things develop,” he said.

Ed Sanford racing his J111 CREATIVE in the same division agrees. “We think it will be some hard upwind work in the first 24 hours and some big breeze and waves out there, but feel good about getting off the coast fast.”

2023 Transpac - photo © Transpacific Yacht Club
2023 Transpac – photo © Transpacific Yacht Club

For Sanford this year’s race is his fourth, having competed in 2013, 2015 and 2017 in his smaller J105. He said he’s upbeat about this race, and with this boat – hat he’s owned for three years – he’s been fastidious at preparation and planning, going through all the systems on board and making upgrades.

This includes adding a bobstay to the bowsprit to handle the loads from a reaching headsail they plan to fly along with a staysail for high-speed reaching…and devising gaskets for it so when the bow dives in there will be no saltwater firehose belowdecks. For more stability and rest for the off-watch crew they also installed a pipe berth and lee cloths in the aft berth to get three to rest on the high side.

“By taking the time to go through all the setup, equipment and systems,” he said, “we have a much better understanding on how to troubleshoot if needed.” Sanford and two other team members even had the boat hauled recently to wet sand the bottom themselves.

These and other all-amateur teams on the race may qualify for the Nash Family Corinthian Trophy which is awarded to the team with the best corrected time performance among teams with all Category 1 sailors recognized by World Sailing.

2023 Transpac trophy - photo © Phil Uhl
2023 Transpac trophy – photo © Phil Uhl

There are numerous other trophies awarded in Transpac with these criteria:

– The Barn Door Trophy: This impressive 4-foot long slab of carved Hawaiian koa wood is awarded to the monohull that has completed the course in the fastest elapsed time. There are plaques for many legendary ocean racing yachts on this trophy.

– Merlin Trophy: first to finish monohull without moveable ballast and other high-performance features.

– Rudy Choy Perpetual Trophy: Awarded to the fastest multihull to complete the course.

– King Kalakaua Trophy: named after the late 19th century Hawaiian king whose inspirational idea for mainland-Hawaii cooperation prompted the founding of Transpac in 1906. This is awarded to the monohull entry with the fastest corrected time.

– E. Ben Mitchell Navigation Trophy: Awarded to the navigator of the Barn Door Trophy winner.

– Ronald L. Burla Trophy for Media Excellence: Awarded to the entry that provides the most creative and original media content related to their on-board experience while sailing in the Transpac Race.

– Storm Trysail Team Trophy: This award recognizes the best performance of a team of three yachts in any division, with no more than two yachts in the same division.

– Mark Rudiger Celestial Navigation Trophy: This prestigious trophy is awarded to the navigator who submits celestial navigation worksheets or evidence of traditional navigation to the finish inspectors immediately after finishing, and whose work is selected as the “best” by an impartial panel of judges.

– Ilio Aukai Highest Average Age Award: This award honors those teams whose average crew age demonstrates they still what it takes to race Transpac!

2023 Transpac - photo © Transpacific Yacht Club
2023 Transpac – photo © Transpacific Yacht Club

These and all awards will be presented in separate ceremonies held at Waikiki, Hawaii and Kaneohe Yacht Clubs – the schedule for these is at

RealSail: For those interested in competing in Transpac virtually, don’t forget to sign up now for the RealSail game found at

For more information on the 2023 Transpac, visit

by Transpacific Yacht Club

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